Writer/director/actor Mike Binder turns in one of 2005's most critically acclaimed films so far with The Upside of Anger, and the reviews hail Joan Allen's performance as one of her very best. Allen, most recently seen in The Bourne Supremacy, has been nominated several times for an Oscar, but has yet to win. It's possible she'll earn yet another nomination for her work as Terry, a disillusioned, middle-aged woman who falls in love with Denny, a retired baseball star (Kevin Costner) next door. The film also stars Erika Christensen (Traffic), Keri Russell (TV's Felicity), and Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen, The Missing).
Binder's film is extremely popular with the mainstream press, and religious press critics are finding plenty to praise as well.
"Without Allen and Costner, I suspect my 3-star rating would slip back closer to a 2," says Lisa Ann Cockrel (Christianity Today Movies). "A twist ending presented a lot of questions for me. . . . But the movie did resonate with the mostly middle-aged crowd I saw it with. That might be because, for better and for worse, many in their 40s and 50s might see themselves in Terry and Denny—people struggling to reconcile their youthful dreams with the reality of what their lives have become."
Megan Basham, a Christian film critic who writes for National Review, says Upside "is a story too rare in cinema today: It's a love story for and about grown-ups—people who carry life's scars into their next relationships and cope with disappointment in messy ways." She too has some problems with the way the film wraps up, but concludes that it's "truly something special."
Harry Forbes (Catholic News Service) says it's "a beautifully acted, droll, and, ultimately, profoundly moving comedy-drama. ...1